In its third consecutive year of major cutbacks, the Paso Robles Public Schools district will send layoff notices to 28 teachers this month. And school officials made clear during Tuesday night’s school board meeting that more jobs are on the line.
With the potential loss of both state and federal dollars, the district will have to cut at least $2.2 million from its budget.
“We realize it can’t all come from the teachers,” Elizabeth Wilson, the assistant superintendent in charge of business, said before the meeting.
Clerical workers could also get pink slips, though the board has until May to sort through classified positions. The district had to first address teachers since layoff notices legally must be mailed out by March 15.
Last year, layoff notices were sent to 70 teachers, and more than 50 received pink slips the year before.
The cutbacks occur as Paso Robles works to raise tests scores that were low enough for the district to be placed in “program improvement” status, meaning if the scores don’t improve, the state can intervene. While the district’s scores have improved steadily, losing teachers makes planning curriculum more challenging. Still, Superintendent Kathy McNamara said this week, curriculum goals are based on enrollment figures, not the number of teachers employed.
With the state and federal government struggling to overcome deficits, no relief is in sight for local educators. The crisis not only causes teachers to lose work through layoffs, but it could also discourage people from entering the profession, said Jim Lynett, who heads the teachers union.
“It’s destroying public education,” he said of the cuts this week.